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I Look Like A Professor

Published at Chronicle Vitae on August 19, 2015. I don’t look like a professor, or so I’ve been told in my almost 13 years in, or adjacent to, academia. Usually, that message is sent indirectly: a casual comment in the hall, a smirk, or a nicer-than-nice question regarding my hair, clothes, or tattoos. Other times, […]

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Who’s Afraid of the Tooth Fairy?

Published at Sacred Matters on June 5, 2015. Eventually, she cajoles me into offering a second opinion on a tooth’s looseness. I carefully put my fingers in her mouth and gently push her tooth. I flinch visibly. Loose teeth are not my least favorite component of motherhood, but they come close. Teeth are the stuff […]

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The Myth of the Academic Lottery

Published at Chronicle Vitae on June 30, 2015. While I appreciate the attempt to reckon with the mysterious yet fateful nature of academic hiring, this phrase hinders more than it helps. To say you’ve won the lottery overshadows the structural realities of the job market, which are significant factors in why you won the game […]

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You’re Beautiful

Published at Brain, Child on February 26, 2015. “You’re beautiful,” my daughter says to a sixty-something waitress with a halo of wild gray curls. The waitress looks tired and worn. The compliment seems to take her by surprise, as if it unsettles her. She pauses, tentatively smiles, and murmurs a hushed “thank you.” When a five year […]

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Dear Liberal Professor, Students Aren’t The Problem

Published at Chronicle Vitae on June 10, 2015. That is because I emphasized respect, dignity, and empathy in our discussions of those hard topics. Sometimes, students’ feelings were hurt, and so were mine. I recognized the legitimacy of their feelings. More important, I emphasized and modeled mutual respect and empathy. I treated my students as […]

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